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Fans boo after Canelo Alvarez won’t commit to facing unbeaten star

One of the best fighters in the world handed a worthy challenger the first loss of his career in a thrilling bout Saturday night.

Yet the raucous cheers and applause from 17,492 fans at T-Mobile Arena directed at Canelo Alvarez after defeating a game Jaime Munguia quickly turned to boos when the undisputed super middleweight champion declined to commit to a fight against undefeated star David Benavidez.

“I don’t know right now. I’m going to rest and enjoy my family,” Alvarez said before getting drowned out by fans expressing their displeasure at his avoidance of a direct question about whether Benavidez would be next.

Alvarez (61-2-2, 39 knockouts) said a massive payday is the only way to ensure fans get what they want.

Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) scoffed at the claim. He said Alvarez’s camp has indicated it would take an astronomical amount of $200 million, a number that Benavidez said is an intentional deal-breaker.

Alvarez, 33, once again referenced cash as the key to a potential deal as he tried to placate the crowd.

“If the money is right, I can fight right now,” he said. “I don’t give a (expletive).”

The fight is one fans have been demanding, but there appears to be little momentum to make it happen, even though they are the two best fighters in the world at 168 pounds by a wide margin.

Benavidez, 27, appears to have given up his aggressive pursuit of the fight for now. He has agreed to move up to light heavyweight to challenge Oleksandr Gvozdyk on June 15 at the MGM Grand Garden.

“The only fight I was staying at 168 pounds for was Canelo,” he said earlier Saturday. “I’m done there if it’s not Canelo. I’ve been there for 10 years at the pinnacle trying to fight for all the belts, and they didn’t give me the opportunity.”

And Alvarez knows he doesn’t have to take on the most worthy contender. He hopes to avenge a 2022 loss to light heavyweight Dmitry Bivol at some point. There’s also the possibility he could face rising undefeated star Edgar Berlanga.

Welterweight champion Terence Crawford could also be a fun fight that would likely do big business. So would a bout against social media star Jake Paul, as much as purists don’t want to hear it.

Alvarez has options, and he knows it.

“I’ve fought with everybody they said I’m not going to fight,” he said. “I fought all of them. So right now, I can do whatever I want.”

He has earned that to a degree. He also earned the right to celebrate what was an impressive victory over Munguia (43-1, 34 KOs), who found a great deal of success in the first three rounds before Alvarez scored a knockdown in the fourth and then took control of the bout.

Alvarez swept the scorecards 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 to retain all five of his belts.

“This win means a lot,” Alvarez said. “I’m glad that I gave him this opportunity. Munguia is a great guy and a great champion. He’s gonna have a great career. I’m very proud that all the Mexicans are here watching us.”

The box office success of another Cinco de Mayo weekend-headlining bout and the impressive victory over an up-and-coming countryman once again solidified Alvarez’s place in boxing as a whole and among Mexican fighters.

“When I retire, my numbers will say what position I’m in,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of great Mexican fighters in the past, but I’m the best fighting right now.”

As for Munguia, 27, his promoter Oscar De La Hoya said the loss to one of the best fighters in the world will have the same effect that Alvarez’s loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013 had on him.

“I thought Jaime did excellent against the current face of boxing,” De La Hoya said. “This experience will take Jaime to another level. Canelo got schooled against Mayweather and then became the face of boxing. Jaime didn’t get schooled, but he gains experience and becomes a better fighter for it. This is only the beginning.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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